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BOISE -- Capital High School sophomore Maddie Zahm spends a lot of time reaching out to special needs students.

For Maddie, it's a passion that began when she was in the 7th grade.

I started dedicating my lunches and sometimes after school to the classroom, said Maddie.

Now a high schooler, Maddie is a regular in the special education room.

She requested a special period, where she could spend an entire class period with the special needs kids, helping them, supporting them, said teacher Kate Guerrero.

Capital High School said yes to that request, without hesitation.

She serves as a role model, she serves as a tutor, she serves as a cheerleader and companion in every way, said Guerrero. They just love her.

The highlight of her day is making true connections with the students. She spends as much time with them as she can.

It's an amazing feeling to know that I am important to them as much as they are important to me because I think of this as a family, said Maddie. Sometimes I tear up because I just get so excited, I see them really wanting to learn.

What Maddie may not realize is the example she is setting to the other students at Capital.

All in all, she's a remarkable example of how powerful a teenager's actions can be in the walls of a high school, said Guerrero.

Maddie knows working with special needs students will play a major role in her future.

I just think it's one of the most amazing and awe inspiring displays of selflessness and true compassion and integrity, she said. Honestly, I have not affected their life as much as they have affected mine.

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